News from the Department 'Integration and Conflict'

Cities have long been associated with economic, social, moral, and salutary precarity. By its very nature, urban life - where relative anonymity, physical proximity to strangers, reliance on money economies, and an ever-changing built-environment converge with transnational flows of people, ideas, and capital - is often considered to produce unique challenges in terms of vulnerability, uncertainty, and risk. more

On 20 and 21 June 2019 a conference with the title “Guardians of Productive Landscapes” will be held at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPI). It was organized as part of a research initiative of the same name, a cooperation that includes the University of Göttingen and the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’ at the MPI. The goal of the initiative is to document how traditional agricultural and land management in East Africa can help to preserve biodiversity. The conference will include screenings and discussion of ethnographic films created as part of this project. The language of the conference is English. more

A workshop entitled “Forced Migration, Exclusion, and Social Class” will take place at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPI) on 23 and 24 May 2019. Participants will examine the ways that the prior economic and social background of refugees affect what opportunities are available to them during their flight and after arrival in a new country. The workshop, which will be held in English, was organized as part of the research initiative ‘Challenges of Migration, Integration and Exclusion’ (WiMi) financed by the Max Planck Society. more

Philipp Schröder, a former research fellow (2006–2011) in the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’, has been named the honouree of the Forschungspreis Ethnographie of the Department of Social and Cultural Studies of Fulda University of Applied Sciences for his book Bishkek Boys: Neighbourhood Youth and Urban Change in Kyrgyzstan’s Capital. The prize will be awarded during the 7th Fuldaer Feldarbeitstage on 5 July 2019. more

On 18 April 2019, the German radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk aired an extended feature on "Problems and Hopes in the Modern City". The occasion for this broadcast was the workshop "Urban Precarity", which took place from 27 to 29 March at the MPI for Social Anthropology. In the broadcast, the two organizers of the workshop, Christian Laheij and Brian Campbell from the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’ as well as the American social anthropologist Ida Susser talk in depth about this research topic. more

From 27 to 29 March 2019 a workshop entitled “Urban Precarity” will take place at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPI). Workshop participants will examine how urban life is shaped by various experiences of precariousness. Ethnographic field studies will shed light on the multifaceted aspects of precarity – here understood not only as material scarcity but also as a phenomenon that includes moral, legal, political, discursive, performative, spatial, and ecological aspects. The workshop‘s conveners are Christian Laheij and Brian Campbell of the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’. The workshop will be held in English. more

CASCA Workshop Report

November 22, 2018

The workshop “Ideas and Practices: Exploring Economic and Social Transformation in Central Asia” on 11–13 October 2018 at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology brought together about forty scholars working on Central Asia. Over two-and-a-half days, the participants reflected on the rapid social change brought about by the economic and political transformations in the region during the last decade. more

The conference “Punishment – Negotiating Society” on 14–16 February 2018, the third conference organized as part of the International Max Planck Research School on Retaliation, Mediation and Punishment (IMPRS – REMEP), provided a forum for discussion between researchers studying punishment in a wide variety of contexts. The participants, representing such diverse disciplines as history, political science, legal studies, criminology, social and cultural anthropology, sociology, human geography, psychoanalysis, and neuroscience, came from Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. more

On 11–13 October a workshop entitled “Ideas and Practices: exploring economic and social transformation in Central Asia” will take place at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Participants will present the results of their research on the far-reaching processes of transformation that have taken place in the Central Asian states since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The workshop was organized by the Centre for Anthropological Studies on Central Asia (CASCA), a cooperation between the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’ at the MPI and the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies (ISEK) at the University of Zurich. The workshop will be held in English. more

Interview with Jacqueline Knörr about her new book more

When people think about Somalia they typically think of it as a hopeless case, a failed state in which nothing functions as it should, a state without a future that threatens international peace. But in fact, this perspective is distorted and one-sided. One problem is that much of the basic sociological and ethnographic data we have about Somalia indeed date back to the 1960s–1980s. The conference “Continuity and change in Somali society, politics, and economy in the longue durée”, which will take place from 20 to 22 June at the MPI for Social Anthropology, aims to offer a more nuanced picture of Somalia based on current social science research. It will be held in English. more

The last decade has seen a massive increase in large-scale land deals in many countries of the Global South – a phenomenon that has had far-reaching consequences for the local population, the environment, and economic relations. These processes will be the topic of an international workshop “Transformations and visions: responses, alternatives and resistances to large-scale land deals in the Global South” on 23–25 May at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. The workshop will be held in English. more

Video recording of the Max Planck Forum in Halle. more

Workshop on the social and economic impacts of migration in the countries of origin more

Current scholarly and political debates about migration to Germany and to Europe more generally have focused on how migrants and asylum-seekers can successfully be integrated in the new society. The research initiative ‘Challenges of Migration, Integration and Exclusion’ (WiMi) financed by the Max Planck Society turns its gaze instead to the patterns and mechanisms that produce exclusion. On 27 February 2018 the initiative will hold a roundtable discussion on the specific context of Halle, offering a variety of perspectives on ways that migrants are marginalized and excluded in everyday life. more

Conference at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology on penal norms and social order more

The German ARD TV show Campus Talks hosted Prof. Dr. Günther Schlee, Director of the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’. He talked on the stage of the Volksbühne in Berlin about the challenges anthropologists have to face during their fieldwork and the ethical standards they are supposed to meet. A written version of his talk was accepted for publication by the German “Journal für Religionsphilosophie”. more

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology will host a panel discussion on Tuesday, 14 November 2017 on the topic of flight and displacement. Titled “Wohin? Was passiert, wenn Menschen ihre Lebensgrundlage verlieren”, the event, which will take place in German, will feature short presentations of ethnographic case studies by seven researchers, followed by a discussion in which they will take questions from the audience. The event is open to the public but registration is requested. To register, please e-mail forum@gv.mpg.de or call 089 2108-1668. more

Han F. Vermeulen, research associate and historian of anthropology at the Department 'Integration and Conflict' of the Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology, has received another award for his book Before Boas: The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment. The International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) has honoured him with the ICAS Book Prize 2017 in the category "English Language Edition – Social Sciences" during a plenary ceremony in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 20 July. more

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